Intimacy and Back Pain: How to Move Past a Bad Back

Eight out of ten people will have some form of back pain in their lives. Whether it is temporary or a permanent health fixture, back pain is a serious medical problem. When back pain becomes chronic or is associated with a disability, it can severely impact a person s ability to be intimate with their partner.

Back Pain Interferes with Daily Life

Back pain, especially chronic pain, will interfere with a persons daily work, leisure and routine. Men and women can suffer from back pain and often will suffer from anxiety or depression out of frustration from the condition itself. Those who suffer from back pain not only have an interference with their daily routines, but their sex lives as well. Though back pain does not directly interfere with a person s ability to be intimate, it can make intimacy challenging and even painful.

Why Back Pain Effects Intimacy

Back pain can impact a person s libido rather significantly. Not only is pain exhausting and debilitating, but from that comes fatigue. Fatigue can decrease a person s ability to feel intimate or even want to engage in intimacy. Furthermore, when an individual with back pain tries to engage in intimacy with their partner, they will anticipate hurt; thus, creating a sense of emotional and mental anxiety. In combination, all of these factors can make a person reluctant to initiate intimacy or reduce their responsiveness to their partner altogether. As a result, the partner without back pain will feel rejected, disconnected and hurt.


Getting Past the Pain

Though back pain is debilitating and exhausting, it does not have to erase intimacy. Some experts recommend that individuals who suffer from severe back pain take up physical therapy or yoga that is specifically designed to alleviate back pain.


Some other steps partners can take to get past the hurdle of back pain and remain intimate with one another can include:


  • Talking aE” By letting the other partner know that the back pain is interfering with their desire and preventing the issue of rejection, partners can find alternative ways to be intimate with one another.
  • Planning Ahead aE” If back pain is at its worse at night, consider planning intimate moments for early morning when the pain is minimal.
  • Warming Up aE” Stretches and exercises to help warm up the back muscles can be used to prepare for intimate moments and decrease the likelihood of muscle spasms during activity.
  • Soak Up aE” Those suffering from back pain can try taking a warm bath to loosen the muscles and prevent tightening and strain during intimacy.


Regardless of whether the back pain is chronic or temporary, couples need to be open with one another and talk about how back pain is hindering their sexual response. By using open communication, both partners can work to find a solution, rather than opening the door to animosity, rejection and negative feelings.


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